Initial Observations on the Virginia Election Results

by James C. Sherlock

Nobody asked, me, but I offer my Wednesday morning initial assessment of the elections in Virginia. In no particular order, here they are.

Until there is a Republican Party of Virginia, not the current Republican Party of me, the party candidates will remain eclectic to the point of statewide incoherence. Not sure who has the juice to pull that together.

It looks at this point like Abigail Spanberger lost to Nick Freitas by about 3,000 votes with 100% counted. I suspect there will be a recount. The rest of the House races were pretty one-sided. Redistricting by the new commission established by the new constitutional amendment will be crucial.

Northern Virginia is the bedroom of the federal government. It has been a long time since there were a significant number of Republicans in the career bureaucracy. Dispersing the offices of those bureaucrats around the country, generically a good idea, may not help the Republicans in swing states.

One question with a potential huge impact on Virginia legislation: Will the Virginia Supreme court take cases that result in an assertive role for that court in assessing new laws for constitutionality?

State issues including the following do not naturally break cleanly on a Democratic/Republican basis.

  • How long will Virginians and their elected representatives put up with the hegemony of the state-granted regional monopolies that drive up their healthcare costs?
  • Will Democrats join Republicans to ensure more primary care for the poor over hospital lobby opposition?
  • Will parents demand better schools teaching a common core of subjects versus a new CRT agenda offered by some of the Ed schools?
  • Will any one fight the takeover of many state-supported Ed schools by the radical left?
  • How far will the School Boards go with bowing to critical race theory demands?
  • How long will parents put up with remote learning?
  • What level of support will emerge for local option contract negotiations by government unions?
  • Will the “Green” Democrats who control Virginia politics now insist that Green energy plans maintain the stability of the electrical grid?
  • How high will be too high for consumers on electricity prices and gasoline driven up to support a Green agenda? On a related note, will the Dems try to take away our gas-fired home appliances? emergency generators? Gas grills? Gas fireplaces?
  • How far will the people of Virginia and their General Assembly let some state Universities go in their teaching of a radical Marxist overthrow of the United States constitution?
  • Do the Democrats have the stomach to try for more gun control?
  • How will the Governor and the General Assembly handle the Sentara Plan for EVMS versus the option of having UVa take it over?
  • Will Richmond or other heavily minority cities and counties have  the guts to try Success Academy discipline and pedagogy approaches  to get Success Academy results for their children?
  • Is there any glimmer of a will in the General Assembly to reign in campaign donations to state and local candidates?

Just some questions, no answers.

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75 responses to “Initial Observations on the Virginia Election Results

  1. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    I don’t think Republicans in Virginia can mount a campaign that can break through the rural to suburban/urban divide. Democrats will have their way and most voters are going to go along with it. They either support the Democrats path or they are not informed enough on the issues. The current state Republican party needs to implode, start over, and build a bigger tent. Not happening any time soon. But it will happen eventually as the generational shift ebbs along. Until then get a descent pair of boots that grip. Slippery slopes ahead.

    • I think a big part of the problem is the degree to which the modern right-left cleavage falls along status lines. Any upwardly mobile young person sees association with the GOP as a social and career death trap, which it increasingly is. Unless your chosen career is specifically “online rightist grifter in the mold of Ben Shapiro,” you better present yourself as liberal or apolitical.

      Step one for the Virginia GOP is figuring out how to attract successful, competent elites as both candidates and donors. The RVA country club set is politically impotent, and the weirdo Cuccinellis/Chases of the Commonwealth are no longer viable as statewide political candidates. Saagar Enjeti and Marshall Kosloff have discussed this problem extensively, and for them (and for me) much of the solution comes down to a recasting of the GOP as a working-class bulwark against the predations of the suburban professional managerial class.

      Imagine a pro-gun, pro-union, pro-Medicare-for-all party which can consistently pull 25-30% of the nonwhite vote — the Jim Webb Way!

      • I’m old enough to remember when Republicans were the “party of the rich”.

        • It’s been this way for a while, but GOP infrastructure in VA and beyond is actively carrying water for industries and classes which increasingly oppose the voter base’s interests. Capital accumulation is no longer reliant on bourgeois virtues — the affluent mandarins of the Dulles tech corridor and the federal contracting ecosystem could care less.

          A decade ago I was tutoring the children of Sudanese refugees in Reston as part of some HS club’s volunteer efforts. Parents would talk about opposing high-density Section 8 housing around Lake Anne via callouts to “property values” and other such thinly-veiled racism. Today, the basic Not In My Backyard attitude remains, but it’s routed through appeals to environmentalist sensibilities. Black or white, if your household income is south of $100k, the professional class will make it exceedingly difficult to live a good life in NOVA.

          You can see a thematically similar shift take place in finance. Money managers have consistently underperformed the index for the last two decades, but appeals to ESG and great big conferences on diversity are all that you read about. They don’t want to discuss returns or low taxes — they want to talk about ESG, because that’s how they can continue justifying getting paid as a manager.

          In each case, those with power are using progressive ideology to rent-seek and maintain their position in spite of their failure to 1) lead their communities with intelligence and virtue, as any good elite should, and 2) actually create value. All the conservative appeals to economic liberty are no longer of interest to capital. Eventually conservatives will have to reckon with this.

          • All true. Crony capitalists have no use for conservatism.

            You’ve done a good job of explaining some things about NOVA that are negatives that largely outweigh the positives (for me, anyway. I’m not a Federal employee and all of the contracting jobs I’ve had, quite frankly, I have not enjoyed).

            I like to say that a Federal contracting job is all of the disadvantages of working for the private sector combined with all of the disadvantages of working for the Feds.

            Probably what I will end up doing (stuck here for the time being due to elderly parents in poor health) is buying a house for cash somewhere in “flyover country” and being happy making half or 1/3 of what I do here.

            Because a significant chunk of what you make in NOVA amounts to “Combat pay”.

          • Only adjustment I’d make to your statement is that $100k figure, I think to own and live comfortably in NOVA you’re look at north of $200k a year salary.

          • Yea, at $100k you’re looking at living in charming places like Manassas.

            $350k for a townhouse where your neighbors are all a bunch of noisy slobs and your commute is an hour and a half one way. And the amenities include a short drive to the local crank/heroin dealer.

          • Excellent analysis. Thank you.

          • Reed Fawell 3rd

            “In each case, those with power are using progressive ideology to rent-seek and maintain their position in spite of their failure to 1) lead their communities with intelligence and virtue, as any good elite should, and 2) actually create value. All the conservative appeals to economic liberty are no longer of interest to capital. Eventually conservatives will have to reckon with this.”

            Yes, I agree. And, unfortunately, the US military is getting caught up in this crony rent seeking trap to riches manifest so plainly in No. Va. This fact frightens me the most, the marrying up of these two cults will spell the end of America.

          • The truth is you can live very comfortably on $100k in NOVA if you accept the loss of property ownership and family life — this is the path much of my cohort is on. But who needs young American professionals having kids, anyway? We have H1-Bs for that!

            And you’re right, Reed, that’s worrying as hell. I think there’s still significant utility in having the military-industrial complex around as an innovation driver and tool of industrial policy, but the current model is irretrievably horrible. The USAF (thanks Will Roper!) is pushing hard on rapid prototyping, digital engineering, and advanced project management as cost controls, but the real bloat is in administration, staffing, and sustainment/updating. Straight jobs programs are hard demons to exorcise.

          • You can also live very comfortably on $100k in Northern VA today and own property if you bought a house 20+ years ago.

            But for me, there are certain things about Northern VA that no amount of money will ever make up for.

          • That was the route my family took, idiocracy. My grandmother moved from San Antonio to Great Falls in the 1960s, and when her (at the time young and solidly middle-class) son-in-law was looking for a home, she practically gave it away for free. GF remains a lovely place to live, but good luck buying there now if you don’t intend on leveraging yourself to the moon. Most reasonably-priced NOVA neighborhoods are, like Manassas, stale townhouse developments bracketed by strip malls and trap houses.

            And the tragedy is that those neighborhoods are of the same people my father was 30 years ago. If you’re from the heartland and aim to “make it” in DC, whether at Oracle or Deloitte or in the government, you really do need to be closer in than Manassas for your professional life and new social contacts to aid you into a managerial position. A few decades ago you could rent cheap and save big for a few years before getting a respectable starter home in Fairfax. At this point, a lot of young professionals need family help to even make rent, and so people with good potential but little financial wherewithal are left to struggle in the periphery.

          • I wonder if an expansion telework will alleviate the problem to some degree. Even if employers required some onsite presence one or two days per week, that would still allow people to live further out and commute in, since it wouldn’t be necessary every day.

          • That’s what I’m currently up to, Nathan, and I hope when that work habit gels it’ll make bedroom communities like Warrenton etc. that much more attractive to young professionals and families hoping to buy. That said, the nature of federal contracting makes me think telework will be less impactful in NOVA than in, say, NYC or the Bay Area.

          • The thing that amazes me about Manassas is that, for such a low-brow area, it’s ridiculously expensive. I suppose this could apply to most of Prince William County.

            I guess most of the people here figure they’ll make the big money then leave so they don’t really care if it’s a dump.

          • “Affordable by an average American’s standard” starts south of the Rappahannock. Thievery begins north of the Occoquan.

            For what it’s worth, I buy into Bacon’s walkable urbanism meme. Any big metro region developed on the suburban model will inevitably bring with it a high home price floor. That’s not actually a huge deal in most of the US — we have more land than we know what to deal with — but it’s a critical issue on the coasts. There’s just not much money in “doing urbanism right” unless you put a price premium on what you develop through such a model, which negates most of the point.

          • All very true about NOVA. I lived in South Riding and worked in Arlington that commute was brutal, and became even more so when 66 went toll, I lost my commute buddies and had a kid.

            Full-time daycare centers in NOVA are about $435 a week, part time in home was $80 a day with the hours of 0700-1730.

            That meant I got to pay for the Dulles toll road and drive through McLean to get to work on the days I took her to daycare.

            We enjoyed where we lived in South Riding but the median house price in that area was $636,000 and that’s on the low end. They had just built new houses for $1.8 million down the street.

  2. Mr. Sherlock, good questions. A couple of others I have in addition to yours:
    1. Will Democrats and Republicans join together to re-examine its so-far-non-action on synchronizing the VA tax code with Federal code.
    2. Will Republicans join Democrats to ensure that Virginia (a) improves its coastal resilience in the face of rising seas and sinking land in Tidewater and (b) strengthens its resilience everywhere in the face of increasing environmental and other threats from the climate crisis–while ensuring that electricity and other energy bills (note: not rates) do not rise excessively for all ratepayers? (The VA Clean Economy Act doesn’t in and of itself guarantee these results nor does VA’s unregulated utility model. Nor is it evident that VA is intent on ensuring that its agencies’ regulatory actions and policy decisions will be consistent with VCEA’s “carbon neutrality by 2050” standard.)

    • I have been involved in flood mitigation issues in the General Assembly for years.

      The GA has never wanted to face up to the costs of doing flood mitigation right – especially in accounting for and blocking devastating storm surges in Hampton Roads.

      The GA members in general still don’t want to spend the time to actually learn the issues. When they do that, and only then, will we learn whether they want spend the money to deal with them.

      So instead they have come up with the non-responsive “coastal resilience” plan which, if printed in a million copies and used to fill sand bags, would do more to mitigate storm surge than the implementation of its recommendations.

      The entire “give universities in Hampton Roads enough grant money and they will study the problem for the rest of eternity” concept was pushed successfully by William and Mary and ODU and bought by the GA as the cost of making the issue go away.

      I was at the table in those discussions. They were just as cynical as they sound.

      The only effective path, and everyone knew it, was for the state to join hands with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to at least get the planning done. It would have been orders of magnitude cheaper than paying the university and consultant engineering firms that do not have 1/100th of the capability to do such planning as USACE.

      With USACE plans, the state would have been in position to nominate those plans for federal funding. With the plans the Universities and consultants are developing, it is literally the law of the land that none of them are worth the paper they are printed on. If such projects are ever to be built, they must be re-planned by USACE anyway. And, as I said, everyone at the table knew it.

      Cynical doesn’t fully describe it, but it is the word I choose.

    • No political goal set 25 or 30 years in the future is a serious effort. All these carbon goals that far out are political window dressing. Which is good because meeting them now would be a devastating mistake.

      • As I recall, we have set goals to clean up waterways, air quality, acid rain, car emissions, CFCs, and a wide variety of things.. it’s not like we haven’t done it.

          • There are few that are not in favor of improving the health of the Chesapeake Bay. I have been a contributor to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation for a very long time. I am on the public policy board of Lynnhaven River Now.

            Unfortunately, those efforts can help with blue sky flooding, but cannot effectively mitigate storm surge.

            The Army Corps of Engineers by policy does all of the natural mitigation it can in its flood mitigation projects before it resorts to construction.

            Look at the massive projects in New Orleans and Southwestern Louisiana since Katrina. The storm surge barriers cost about $20 billion, 65% of which was paid by the federal government. By law, state and local governments must request and the Congress approve such appropriations. The Commonwealth has decided not to even ask.

            In the case of Hampton Roads, a major economic engine for Virginia and the largest concentration of military facilities, including Newport News Shipbuilding, in the world, the failure of the Commonwealth to partner with the federal government to mitigate storm surge represents a critical failure of elected leadership in this state.

          • Mr. Sherlock – You are correct about the military facilities at Hampton Roads.

            Some areas, however, should not have been used for development. The U.S. has sufficient land mass such that we shouldn’t continue to build in flood plains. But politically that can’t be said for fear that political opponents will capitalize on such statements. That’s unfortunate.

          • Well, we could use fly-ash infused cement to build roads, except that VDOT doesn’t like to use cement to build roads.

          • Or … you could look at the data from this year as opposed to 2018 …

            https://www.thefishingwire.com/releases/c58f2b43-5a0d-44f0-afaa-4f6d4a396da0

        • We cannot effectively change the amount of carbon dioxide already in the air, nor substantially change the rate at which it’s added to the world’s atmosphere. China, India and underdeveloped counties modernizing will dictate the majority of the carbon emissions of the future.

          We can either destroy our economy with nothing to show for it, or make incremental reasonable change while we make preparation for rising sea levels, etc.

          • We can’t, but plants can. Why don’t we stop burning them?

            One area where we can effectively use CO2 is infusing fly ash with CO2 to make a binding agent with cement. It produces a stronger product, uses CO2 rather than produce it, and makes for better, lighter, strong buildings and roads.

          • “We can’t, but plants can. Why don’t we stop burning them?”

            If we don’t manage our forests proactively, they will burn out of control. I support forest management.

            I also oppose deforestation as would be necessary for massive solar expansion.

            I’m not familiar with the fly ash technique, but that sounds like the type of thing I advocated in my comment above. There are numerous reasonable and incremental changes and technologies we should support.

            Banning fossil fuels and destroying the economy are what I oppose. The Green New Deal and its evangelists threaten our standard of living and national security. I am very concerned about what I Biden/Harris administration will do.

        • Here’s the question. Is paying for flood damage and paying more to build more infrastructure to rebut flooding – “destroy the economy”?

          What is the difference in terms of “destroying the economy” between building floodwalls and solar panels?

          Bonus Question: Would we call building flood infrastructure the Green New Economy?

          • Reading comprehension is a great thing. You should work on it.

            First question from Larry:
            Here’s the question. Is paying for flood damage and paying more to build more infrastructure to rebut flooding – “destroy the economy”?

            I already said we should, “make incremental reasonable change while we make preparation for rising sea levels, etc.”

            I also said: “Banning fossil fuels and destroying the economy are what I oppose.”

            Second question from Larry:
            What is the difference in terms of “destroying the economy” between building floodwalls and solar panels?

            Construction projects to preserve our critical assets (economic and military) on the coast make perfect sense. I also support citizens right to buy solar panels. I don’t support mass deforestation for solar farms or environmental nut jobs dictating how to efficiently produce energy on a mass scale.

            An example of Green New Deal type lunacy would be California mandating electric vehicles when they can’t even provide for their existing electrical needs. That’s pretty stupid.

            “Governor Newsom Announces California Will Phase Out Gasoline-Powered Cars & Drastically Reduce Demand for Fossil Fuel in California’s Fight Against Climate Change”

            https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/09/23/governor-newsom-announces-california-will-phase-out-gasoline-powered-cars-drastically-reduce-demand-for-fossil-fuel-in-californias-fight-against-climate-change/#:~:text=In%20the%20last%20six%20months,electric%20medium%2D%20and%20heavy%2Dduty

            Last question from Larry:
            Bonus Question: Would we call building flood infrastructure the Green New Economy?

            There’s nothing “new” about building flood infrastructure. Yu the Great (c. 2123–2025 BC) was famous for introducing flood control to China.

          • re:

            ” Reading comprehension is a great thing. You should work on it.

            First question from Larry:
            Here’s the question. Is paying for flood damage and paying more to build more infrastructure to rebut flooding – “destroy the economy”?

            I already said we should, “make incremental reasonable change while we make preparation for rising sea levels, etc.”

            there’s that word again – “reasonable”. and “incremental”. Does it mean different things to different folks? And again, who pays for this?

            “Second question from Larry:
            What is the difference in terms of “destroying the economy” between building floodwalls and solar panels?

            Construction projects to preserve our critical assets (economic and military) on the coast make perfect sense. I also support citizens right to buy solar panels. I don’t support mass deforestation for solar farms or environmental nut jobs dictating how to efficiently produce energy on a mass scale.”

            Are you calling “community” infrastructure “critical” infrastructure necessary to save a military asset?

            You don’t have to “deforest” to deploy solar. That’s just wackadoodle reasoning. Look around you at all the places that are NOT forests that are not used right now. Look at the interchanges on interstates, adjacent rights-of-ways, fallow farmland, etc… When you depict solar the way you do – it’s not “reasonable” at all.

            “An example of Green New Deal type lunacy would be California mandating electric vehicles when they can’t even provide for their existing electrical needs. That’s pretty stupid.”

            California has led the way in cleaner vehicles. We’d not have the cleaner cars we have right now if it were not for California emission laws that forced other states to adopt.

            ” “Governor Newsom Announces California Will Phase Out Gasoline-Powered Cars & Drastically Reduce Demand for Fossil Fuel in California’s Fight Against Climate Change”

            https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/09/23/governor-newsom-announces-california-will-phase-out-gasoline-powered-cars-drastically-reduce-demand-for-fossil-fuel-in-californias-fight-against-climate-change/#:~:text=In%20the%20last%20six%20months,electric%20medium%2D%20and%20heavy%2Dduty

            this is called increamental change… no?

            “Last question from Larry:
            Bonus Question: Would we call building flood infrastructure the Green New Economy?

            There’s nothing “new” about building flood infrastructure. Yu the Great (c. 2123–2025 BC) was famous for introducing flood control to China.”

            In the scope and scale of building it to deal with sea level rise – it is.

            We’re talking about costs that far exceed what VDOT spends on roads – VDOT spends billions – this will cost far more and someone has to pay for it. Wouldn’t it be cheaper for the miliary to relocate to places that do not require flood infrastructure just as we do in telling people to leave their flood-prone home and build on higher ground?

          • Larry asked:
            Are you calling “community” infrastructure “critical” infrastructure necessary to save a military asset?

            Yes. Military construction facilities and military bases cannot function without the community that surrounds them. If your home and family are threatened, it’s not going to be business as usual at work.

            Larry asked:
            “Wouldn’t it be cheaper for the miliary to relocate to places that do not require flood infrastructure just as we do in telling people to leave their flood-prone home and build on higher ground?”

            I don’t think we can build aircraft carriers on the plains of Kansas. No.

      • Why Hell, just putting a man on the Moon could barely have been done in a decade from its announcement.

  3. So.. when I read down the list, I do wonder if these are the concerns of thos who vote Dem.

    Why?

    Because if the GOP is going to regain some level of competitiveness – are they willing to respond to the concerns of those who vote Dem – cuz that’s how you might win over enough to regain power.

    That’s the challenge of the GOP these days. Do they lecture to voters what they think voters should be for or do they listen to voters and respond with proposals that voters are wanting?

    Both parties have this problem by the way. It’s just that the GOP tends to be more out of step right now… and apparently unwilling to cater to what larger numbers of voters really want and instead work to please their base. This gets back to that “big tent” idea…. right now, the members of the GOP that want to be more moderate and respond to voters are eviserated by the harder right of the GOP.

    Can’t win like that!

  4. The local Republican party where I live has been noteworthy for its total incompetence and old boy approach. Witness the created feud between the party and Amanda Chase. Chase admittedly has some baggage because of the incident with the Capitol police, but she has been very forthright in her approach to the problems I have brought to her and seems not to mind bucking the old boys. They, in turn, have been incensed at her willingness to strike out on her own under the Republican banner and to ignore them where necessary. Sherlock is right; start over. He is also right about where to find people who will do it. There are any number of old boys (girls, too) willing to stand in the way for their own personal benefit.

    • I still think the GOP has to decide if they want to respond to what voters want or reject that and hew to their own conservative beliefs.

      Otherwise, the GOP will continue to cater to rural and run away from urban voters.

      Sometimes, I get the impression the GOP is trying to convince voters to change their views – as opposed to the GOP changing their views in response to what voters want.

      The Dems have their own demons. The far left tries to co-opt the Dems and the GOP never tires of trying to paint the Dems as far left … but in the end – the Dems actually do respond to urban voters and the GOP just bails.

  5. The new electricity welfare program will soon morph into waste, fraud and abuse. Signing up ineligible and non-existent customers will occur. The FCC just fined T-Mobile/Sprint $200,000,000 for the later. https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-367967A1.pdf

    One might think it would be hard to find non-existent power customers but don’t think it’s impossible to do when other people’s money is available.

  6. The question for national parties is how do you assess the still incomplete but basically 50/50 results nationally in this election?

    Here in Virginia, the question is how does the Republican Party of Virginia hold on to its base while expanding it?.

    I personally have some proposed answers to that but each reader who is a conservative should ponder his or her own.

    • Well, they could leave the Dark Ages. Hell, just getting into the late 18th Century would be impressive.

    • “Here in Virginia, the question is how does the Republican Party of Virginia hold on to its base while expanding it?.”

      We won’t expand our base by becoming leftists. What we lack most is effective communication of conservative principles and their benefits. The Progressive narrative so dominates the media and education that many people are swept up into it without any effective counter argument.

      Larry likes to reference polls. What most polls don’t tell you is WHY people believe what they believe on policy matters.

      “It isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant. It’s just that they know so many things that aren’t so.”
      ― Ronald Reagan

      Take Coronavirus for example.

      “Nearly all U.S. fatalities have been among people older than 55; and yet a large number of Americans are still convinced that the risk to those younger than 55 is almost the same as to those who are older,” Sonal Desai, chief investment officer at Franklin Templeton Fixed Income, said in a statement.

      “Fear and anger are the most reliable drivers of engagement; scary tales of young victims of the pandemic, intimating that we are all at risk of dying, quickly go viral; so do stories that blame everything on your political adversaries,” Desai said. “Both social and traditional media have been churning out both types of narratives in order to generate more clicks and increase their audience.”

      People who relied on social media as their main source of information on the coronavirus pandemic had the most “erroneous and distorted perception of risk,” according to the research.

      https://thehill.com/changing-america/well-being/longevity/512768-americans-misperceive-the-risks-of-death-from

      • So the reason that Conservatives fail at getting votes in urban areas is that they are uniformly, across the geographic sprectrum, failures at effective communication?

        I’d say thats being in denial myself.

        So your fall back from that is that the voters in urban areas are also ignorant and therefore effective communication does not work?

        hmmmmm

        When someone needs health care, and you tell him to work harder so he can get a better job that provides it – that will win you votes?

        If people believe sicence when it comes to global warming and pandemics – you tell them that science is wrong and is lying and that will win you votes?

        Or, we really do not have a race problem – it’s caused by evil “leftists”?

        that will win you votes?

        I do not defend the far left – they are as bad as the far right – no question but I don’t think Conservatives win votes with “more effective communication” if it does not respond to people’s actuall concerns and interests.

        You simply cannot tell them there is “a better way” and “trust me”.

        When you actively work to take health care away from them – all the while telling them you have a “better plan” but you can’t tell them what it is until you take their health care away from them – that’s not really a “coomunication” issue.

        “effective communication” will not take the place of actually dealing with the issues; they don’t want to hear “we have a better way”, they want to know exactly what that better way actually is.

        And this has nothing at all to do with the “radical left”. This is all about what Conservatives really offer urban dwellers. The “radical left” narrative is just more boogeyman diversion.

  7. Spanberger’s vote total has now pulled ahead by about 100. Still a few mail ballots to count.

    The tone of some of these comments seems to be that Virginians are having Democrats forced upon them. To the contrary, the majority of Virginians are choosing Democrats. Until the Republicans offer some serious alternatives that address the issues that Virginians care about, they can expect to remain in the minority.

  8. Let us end this trumpery!

  9. What many do NOT want is essentially politicol gridlock on major issues like immigration, health care, global warming, AND what to do about the pandemic.

    It gets portrayed by some as only two extremes and the rationale for gridlock as if there are no moderates in the mix or compromise possible.

    Bu we’ve let the zealots control the narrative and continue to stoke division because that essentially keeps compromise from being possible.

    I’d submit that people are tired of this and are looking for leaders who are willing to try to find middle ground. The zealots will continue to stoke the division because compromise is pretty much not acceptable to them.

    For instance, choices on health care are not what the extrmes are claiming, nor on immigration or global warming and certainly not race but if you listen to them – they’s what they portray. That’s to give even an inch is unacceptable.

  10. For those interested, the Military Departments are required by U.S. law to protect their bases.

    So Norfolk Naval Base, Oceana Naval Air Station, Langley Air Force Base and the rest do the best they can, as does Newport News Shipbuilding, which not only is one of two shipyards that produces submarines, but also uniquely produces and overhauls all of America’s aircraft carriers, incontestably the most complex and formidable products of American industry.

    Unfortunately, military money may only be spent up to the fence lines. It is good work, but greatly hampered by the lack of investment in protecting the surrounding communities.

    The places where soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen and civilian workers live are the responsibility of those communities and the Commonwealth. Virginia’s failure to step up to protect those communities represents a national security issue of the first order.

    • “Virginia’s failure to step up to protect those communities represents and national security issue of the first order.”

      That’s absolutely correct.

      There’s lots of TALK about avoiding partisan squabbles, seeking solutions, finding middle ground etc. In my view, it doesn’t seem to happen because there’s very little to be gained politically for doing that, at least on a national level.

      If the Democrats had worked with the President and Republicans it would have made his administration more successful. That’s why they refused to do it, even on areas where they agreed. The 2nd Coronavirus relief package is a prime example. Democrats refused to pass legislation on the numerous points where Democrats and Republicans agree.

      “It’s unfortunate Democrats won’t take yes for an answer. Once again, they have taken the position it’s either their way or the highway for #coronavirus relief.”

      https://twitter.com/senronjohnson/status/1304158533391441927

      I don’t understand what the dynamic is within Virginia. This seems like an area where we could reach consensus.

  11. The question is – who should pay for what it takes to protect the Base and the community that it is located and houses it’s workers?

    The people of Tidewater need to pay more? The people of Virginia? If we pay for the community infrastructure associated with the base workers, do we also have to pay for the community infrastructure of others in the community also?

    The more land that you abandon – the bigger hit to the tax base, no?

    Multiply this problem up and down the coasts and ask yourself the magnitude of the econoimc “damage”. Somebody is going to pay. The question is can you make everyone pay that is not affected by it?

    • Do you think Virginians outside of Hampton Roads are not affected by what happens here? Does Northern Virginia have its own Navy, its own port?

      • No more or less than other parts of Virginia if all other Virginians are asked to pay things to help their community!

        You’re talking about a new thing in a way. All other counties in Virginia would have to pay s special tax to help Hampton Roads and how much – $10 or $1000 ?

        It does matter how much. At one point does the cost exceed the benefit?

        Before any of that might happen… we’ll end up with streets and lots that are flooded persistently and getting worse. How will the locality deal with that on it’s own? Properties affected that way will lose value and banks will no longer loan. If someone leaves, the vacant house will not be easily re-sold and the banks won’t want it either.

        The military will make budget requests but once they reach big numbers, they won’t be easily funded… and higher ups will question if it is bad money after good.

        We are just starting into this and I don’t see anything from the government to deal with it.

        • Here is how such things work.

          The federal government, in order to commit to 65% of the cost, by law must have a partner that can guarantee the other 35%.

          The Virginia investments would be funded with bonds. In Virginia, such bonds have the full faith and credit of the Commonwealth behind them. That is why localities cannot issue them without state permission.

          The bonds can be of different types, but the type that gets the highest rating are bonds guaranteed by tax revenue. So the Commonwealth would have to determine the structure of the taxes that would pay the principal and interest on the bonds.

          Let’s say that the bonded obligation on the part of state and local governments was $7 billion for the project, using the Louisiana example.

          The federal government lent Louisiana that money up front because it’s credit was so devastated by Katrina, but it has to pay it back.

          Virginia, on the other hand, has a AAA bond rating. That rating will be preserved if the state levies taxes dedicated to paying back the $7 billion in this example.

          How the state would apportion those taxes, either all to Hampton Roads residents or most to Hampton Roads and the rest to the state would be up to the General Assembly. Either way, $7 billion is a rounding error to the damage that an 8 ft. storm surge at high tide would do down here.

  12. Sherlockj in two separate comments above says:

    ““the GOP” in Virginia does not exist. That is one of my main points.””

    AND

    “The question for national parties is how do you assess the still incomplete but basically 50/50 results nationally in this election?

    Here in Virginia, the question is how does the Republican Party of Virginia hold on to its base while expanding it?

    I personally have some proposed answers to that but each reader who is a conservative should ponder his or her own.” End Quote

    SherlockJ is right. His questions are good ones.

    I suggest that the 2020 national elections, federal and state wide, point to highly favorable trends within the ongoing rebuilding of the national GOP. The Trump phenomena is catching hold and expanding.

    Virginia’s GOP needs to join these trends or continue its ongoing rapid slide into oblivion. The time for its cowering, lack of confidence, self imposed guilt, and abject silence, is over. It must rebuilt or die.

    And, conversely, it is the Democratic party that nationally is signaling its own demise. It is for this reason that the national polls, national news media, and the mechanisms of Democratic Party run governments, and all their crony allies controlled by the progressive elites, from UVa all the way down to the local school board levels in long sick places like Fairfax Country, all of these political hacks and their sick institutions, have yet again thoroughly discredited themselves. All their legitimately increasingly now is exposed and evaporating, being destroyed daily by their own mendacity on subjects ranging from Covid, to intimidation and violence in the streets, to the cancel and exile culture, to opaque rule by the diktat and money laundering of oligarchies that have seized control of America’s public institutions, for the own private advantage and exploitation.

    Now, the gig is up. This 2020 national and state elections are showing a rising, and increasingly broad based and powerful, rejection of these progessive efforts to destroy the American Republic. A new and better age is dawning nationwide. A rebirth of the greatest republic the world has ever known. The question in Virginia is whether the body politic of its GOP is beyond repair, too far gone too to be resuscitated, so junked instead?

    • The question I would like addressed is the practical impact of Libertarian candidates siphoning off conservative votes. Why can’t they join forces with Republicans as Rand Paul and others have?

      • Conservatives are uniquely skilled at convincing themselves Bucktooth “Bucky” Redfoot of the Adam Smith’s Sword Cane Party is the second coming of TJ. Fetishization of small-l liberal principles from another age is not, perhaps, conducive to electoral success in 2020, and it’s something I hope we can all move on from.

        Reed does a great job underscoring the stakes we face as Americans. The Republic may not be quite yet dead, but its major institutions are utterly callous to the interests and revealed preferences of normal folk. Protest voting will go the way of the dinosaur when people feel they no longer have the luxury of voting for a protest candidate, and I think that moment is approaching.

    • James Wyatt Whitehead V

      “The time for its cowering, lack of confidence, self imposed guilt, and abject silence, is over. It must rebuilt or die.”

      I agree Mr. Reed. We need a bigger tent. We need to stand tall with the red, white, and blue. The RPV needs to get younger too.

  13. A big unknown will be the response of Asians to the concerted effort by Democrats to make them “honorary white people of privilege.” A bigger tent would provide a welcome home for many disaffected Asians. And absent a bigger tent approach, there will not be any shift.

  14. Here’s the problem with the GOP and Conservatives these days. There are several “wings” of Conservatism to include Libertarians but in order for them to group up into one strong movement, they have to compromise with regard to each other and so far that is a problem and it’s especially important for GOP conservatives trying to win votes in urban areas. The standard Conservative hard-line without compromise will not work with urban voters. Candidates they will vote for have to support public education, health care, reasonable immigration policiies, and so on.

    As long as would-be GOP/Conservtives candidates have to toe the hard-line they will not win in urban areas which is were they need votes to add to their rural base.

    They actually do have some opportunities with some immigrants Asians and others, and Hispanics but as long as the GOP is hostile to the idea of immigration and health care, they will not win over even immigrants.

    • Full election results aren’t in quite yet, but do you have ideas as to why Trump had the strongest GOP non-white vote since 1960? It wasn’t just Miami-Dade.

      And on the question of healthcare: you’re absolutely right. Rhetoric to the contrary, most GOP voters have been in “smile through the pain” mode for years w/r/t insurance costs. I know a couple fence-sitters in Idaho who I’m pretty sure voted Biden due to their healthcare burden.

    • You seem to continue to conflate legal and illegal immigration. There are clearly people on the right (as well as the late liberal Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Jordan) who oppose more immigration. But there are many more who are comfortable with legal immigration, but are opposed to the continuous flow of illegal immigrants into the United States. They drive down wages for lower-skilled Americans and drive up state and local government spending on education, health care and other social welfare programs.

      • Right. we know what you don’t like but what do you support – as a unified Conservative approach?

        This really does illustrate that Conservatives as a group cannot agree themselves on an approach. Which Conservative faction should the Dems attempt to negotiate?

        • I support closing the borders to illegal immigrants; rejecting false claims of asylum; mandatory use of E-Verify; severe tax penalties for employers that don’t use E-Verify; a shift to skill based immigration in lieu of family chain immigration; making it a crime to cross the border illegally with the intention of staying or having a child born in the U.S.; statutory implementation of DACA; and, after the borders are closed, an amnesty for people who have been in the country with clean records for 10 years.

        • “Which Conservative faction should the Dems attempt to negotiate?”

          Why not negotiate in good faith with President Trump?

          President Trump made very generous offers which were rejected by the Democrats. They didn’t want to allow him to fulfil his campaign promise of border security, so no deal was reached.

          Democrats wanted to keep the President from fulfilling his campaign promises more than they wanted to help the “Dreamers” or anyone else. That’s the bottom line.

          Its all about hate and partisan politics with the Democrats.

    • James Wyatt Whitehead V

      Lincoln had a big tent. He made promises to factions, that normally were at war with each other, and kept those promises.
      1. The abolitionists got a promise to undo the Fugitive Slave Act and shut down the reopened African slave trade.
      2. The Free Soilers were promised no extension of slavery into territories.
      3. Northern Whigs were promised a national currency as well as harbor and river navigation improvements.
      4. Industrialists were rewarded with protective tariffs and a transcontinental railroad.
      5. Farmers were promised the Homestead Act.
      6. Farmers and industrialists were pledged a Morrill Act to build agricultural and mechanical colleges.
      7. Disappointed anti slavery nativists were drawn off the Know Nothing Party.
      8. Irish and German immigrants were promised access to citizenship and voting rights.
      9. Wide Awake Clubs were formed to mobilize the youth.
      10. A party unifying pledge to preserve the union.

      Of course the war made much of this impossible. Well not exactly. A national crisis was useful. Lincoln made a deal with the Congress. Abe needed the cooperation of Congress to win the war and in exchange Lincoln would support the domestic legislation from Congress. With southern Democrats out of the way it was much easier to keep the promises made. The struggle to achieve the platform actually came from within the Republican Party. Lincoln’s political genius managed to keep the cracks from turning into fissures.

      • And the question is – who among the Conservatives can meld them together to support something – as opposed to opposing?

        • James Wyatt Whitehead V

          The recording goes something like this: “We’re sorry. That candidate is currently not available. Please call again.”

          The bright side? Nobody even knew there was an Abraham Lincoln until he debated Stephen Douglas in 1858.

          That candidate is out there. Hope they can come forward and into the light.

          • The question is, why would anyone who cares about his or her reputation and family want to run for President these days? It’s not just Trump who is savaged by Democrats and the media (same thing). Anyone running as a Republican will be portrayed similarly.

            Even Martin Luther King Jr. were to be resurrected and run for President as a Republican he would called a racist.

      • James – I very much appreciate your extensive knowledge of history, but the impression one gets from this post is that Lincoln was popular. My reading suggests that he never really achieved significant acclaim until after his assassination.

        Here’s a sampling.

        “The illustrious Honest Old Abe has continued during the last week to make a fool of himself and to mortify and shame the intelligent people of this great nation. His speeches have demonstrated the fact that although originally a Herculean rail splitter and more lately a whimsical story teller and side splitter, he is no more capable of becoming a statesman, nay, even a moderate one, than the braying ass can become a noble lion. People now marvel how it came to pass that Mr. Lincoln should have been selected as the representative man of any party. His weak, wishy-washy, namby-pamby efforts, imbecile in matter, disgusting in manner, have made us the laughing stock of the whole world. The European powers will despise us because we have no better material out of which to make a President. The truth is, Lincoln is only a moderate lawyer and in the larger cities of the Union could pass for no more than a facetious pettifogger. Take him from his vocation and he loses even these small characteristics and indulges in simple twaddle which would disgrace a well bred school boy.”
        – Salem Advocate, a newspaper printed in Lincoln’s home ground of central Illinois

        “His speeches have fallen like a wet blanket here. They put to flight all notions of greatness.”
        – Congressman Charles Francis Adams

        At the time he was sworn in for his first term, it has been estimated that his national approval rating was about 25%.

        After the Gettysburg Address, the Chicago Times wrote:
        “the cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat and dishwatery utterances” of Lincoln’s speech.

  15. “Well, we could use fly-ash infused cement to build roads, except that VDOT doesn’t like to use cement to build roads.”

    “One area where we can effectively use CO2 is infusing fly ash with CO2 to make a binding agent with cement. It produces a stronger product, uses CO2 rather than produce it, and makes for better, lighter, strong buildings and roads.”

    Where will we get the fly ash once coal-burning facilities are shut down? Import it from China or India?

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